Green Earth dry cleaning is a process billed as a nontoxic and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cleaning methods. But preliminary studies suggest D-5, the silicone-based solvent used in the process, causes cancer in rats and may also be toxic to the liver. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.
Professional wet cleaning is a water-based, nontoxic, energy-efficient technology that uses computer-controlled washers and dryers, specially formulated biodegradable detergents, and specialized finishing equipment to process garments that are otherwise dry cleaned.
More information on the process is available from Occidental College's Pollution Prevention Education and Research Center:
Companies including Dow Corning manufacture D-5, the solvent used in Green Earth dry cleaning. The Silicones Environmental Health and Safety Council -- an industry trade group -- issued the following statement in response to questions about the safety of D-5: